May 6, 2011

Oh my, I have been so absolutely remiss about posting our lessons and rides! *slaps own hand* Bad Christine! I will say that we’ve had some nice and productive rides as of late. We’ve hauled out to Ft. Assiniboine twice for day rides – he was very well behaved both times. He got a bit excited a few times, but a number of small circles later and he came to the realization that walking was the best choice. We’ve gone for a ride around here – and rode alongside the busy roads and he handled all the traffic perfectly! I think we are almost past his car phobia, which is a big relief considering where we live. My trainer has also been on him and took him over some jumps. It was nice to actually be able to watch him go instead of just being on him and holding on for dear life. He even did a couple flying lead changes for her (unasked, he was just switching back to the correct lead) – and since then he’s done a number for me as well. I am so very pleased about this, because if he can easily do auto-changes, it will be one less thing I’ll have to concentrate on. He doesn’t do them every time, but hey, he’s got a good start! Anyway, when my trainer was done with him, her first comment was “He’s so fun!” I’m so pleased, and hope that she’ll ride him some more for me – it never hurts to have the trainer get on!

July 4, 2010
Nova and I had a very nice lesson today. Diane had us warm up with two laps around the whole arena each direction, then start doing three circles along each long side of the arena (6 circles each way). I was impressed with how well Nova moved out when I asked him to trot. He’s been a lot better of late – I think the bit change has helped – about striding forward instead of up and down, but today he was even better than usual. He was moving nice and big without trying to go “Canter? Canter now? Yes, now!!” every two point five strides. Diane then had us move up into the canter and do the same exercise… Well, I can tell my horse is in at least a little shape now! I did a lot more than 12 circles to get him to finally settle down and stop trying to power around like a crazy horse. After the million circles and really working on using my outside rein to half-halt him every stride he finally came back and gave me a fairly decent, non-crazy canter. I have to make sure to sit up tall and really hold my core when he gets like that, so he can’t pull me around and do what he wants. Diane then had us work on a new exercise (for us), and have us come up the centre line and break to a trot, then pick up the canter again still on the centre line – and alternating leads. I was very happy with how well Nova did! We only blew on lead, but when I brought him back down and asked again he nicely picked up the correct one. The first couple passes I cantered him right down almost to the end, then broke to the trot and asked for the lead as we were starting to bend that direction. After that, Diane then had us break to the trot about a third of the way up, and picking up our canter by the two thirds part of the centre line. Like I said before, he listened well and I was very happy with that exercise!

We then moved onto doing some jumping. Starting with some x-rails on the diagonals, then moving up to verticals, and finishing up with some bending lines. I could explain about how it all went, but seeing as I have a video clip, I think that’s the easiest way. He is a little lazy with his back legs, because he typically doesn’t have to worry too much about them yet. I hope as we progress and go higher he’ll start picking them up. Or, I may also get some deeper cups so that when he’s lazy, it hurts a bit. And as we all know, I’m very much a work in progress – and I’m thankful every day that Nova’s such an affable guy and puts up with me.

July 6, 2010
Helga couldn’t make it down to today’s lesson, so I had a private one – it was nice! We warmed up doing basically the same exercise as we did on the 4th. He was way less rushy at the canter today, which made everything a lot smoother. When I got to the centre line canter transition portion, we again missed one lead, but managed to change it first try. I think it’s a very handy lesson for us, and I will definitely be doing it when I ride by myself.

We then moved onto the jumping, starting as always with some x-rails. Diane also set up our very first oxer for us to practice on. During our warm up Diane had us doing some tight turns, all of which we made! Well, one was pretty ugly and I think we almost ran into the fence, but that was because Diane had us doing a figure-8 pattern and I came off the jump thinking ‘right’ and she called out ‘left’. Thankfully Nova is a very forgiving pony. We then started going over the oxer, starting with it as two x-rails, then raising it up to about 2ft. I had a few really nice rides over it – especially when I remembered to hold him off of it slightly. He’s a very keen jumper! We finished the lesson off with a course that went really well. It had one tight turn that we managed, and then two lines on the diagonals (including the oxer). I think we’re going to be ready for the Killerney show in a couple weeks! Well, ready as in we probably shouldn’t completely crash and burn, haha.

July 18, 2010
Today was the Killerney Shamrock Series show. I entered in two flat classes – equitation and pleasure, and one jumping division – Beginner 2’0.

We arrived early to school over the fences before the show started – this was more for my confidence than for Nova. I will admit at this point it’s hard for me to just ride him like it’s no big deal, when showing is still a big deal to me! We did have a handful of refusals, but Diane got after me and we then schooled over all of them without any trouble. Once I knew he’d been over them all and did not care about them, I could start to not care about them.

We did our two flat classes first. I was proud of how calm and controlled Nova stayed for both classes. He trotted nicely, allowed me to do a sitting trot without trying to canter, and picked up both his leads perfectly in the Equitation class. We didn’t place, but that’s ok because he was so great! We just have to work on getting him more steady in the bridle. By that, I mean I would just like him to keep his head in a consistent spot, and preferably a little lower than where it is right now. The second class was the Pleasure class, and we placed 5th! It was a huge surprise, as he missed his right lead the first time (right at the end where I thought for sure the judges were watching) but otherwise he was as nice and steady as he was in the Equitation class. What I was most impressed with was the fact that he was in both classes with two mules and he didn’t even react! (Last year he totally eyeballed the one mule that was at the show.) Videos are up of both classes:



After a lengthy break it was time to go into my 2’0 hunter class. Nova went nicely in all three rounds, and I was very pleased with him at his first time showing at that height. In the first round he was feeling really nice and I dropped him right in front of the last line, so he took a stutter step and we lost a bit of our ‘flow’, but that was totally my fault. Mom missed videoing my second round (mixed up the on and off on the video camera), but he was even better in the second round. By the third though he was hot and a bit tired so it wasn’t quite as nice as the others (for the first time I had to push him to keep his pace up), but he was still good. The class was huge, so there was no way we were going to get a ribbon, but that doesn’t mean that he was any less good!

2’0 Hunter Division:

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